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Neurodiversity

The University is committed to ensuring we are an open, safe, inclusive and diverse community where everyone can be themselves. Our new 2030 People Strategy is all about supporting each other to thrive. We will celebrate diversity and be inclusive, fair and compassionate in everything we do, prioritising the health and wellbeing of our community. 

"What is neurodiversity?"

  • In the 1990s the concept of neurodiversity emerged. This tells us that these brain differences are natural variations. Some people’s brains simply work in a different way. Each person has a brain that is unique to them; no two brains are quite alike. A neurodiverse workplace is one that will be full of the many strengths which people with neurological conditions often have.” - The Brain Charity  
  • “Neurodiversity may be every bit as crucial for the human race as biodiversity is for life in general. Who can say what form of wiring will prove best at any given moment?” - Harvey Blume, The Atlantic, 1998 
  • Your workforce benefits from greater diversity in general, and greater neurodiversity in particular. ‘Groupthink’ can be a real problem – but when you create a group of people who think differently from each other, you increase the likelihood of finding a breakthrough solution or innovation.”- Business Disability Toolkit 
  • Neurodivergence: brains that function and experience the world in ways different to the dominant, ‘neurotypical’, brain.
  • “Around one in five people are neurodivergent” - Neurodiversity Hub 
  • Neurotypicality: the dominant neurotype – previously considered to be the ‘standard’ brain.
  • Neurominority: a group that shares the same divergence.
Below you can explore the main examples of neurodivergence including key traits/experiences and support available. It’s important to note though that every single person is different and while we do try to list some key traits/experiences, each person will have a unique experience.

For further support and information: 

Other/previously used terms includeAttention Deficit Hyperactivity Condition (ADHC) and Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD). 

There are three types of ADHD: Primarily Hyperactive and Impulsive ADHD, Primarily Inattentive ADHD (formerly called ADD) and Combined Type ADHD (find out more here).

"What are some of the traits or experiences associated with ADHD?" 

You/They may:  

  • be easily distracted 
  • have difficulty staying on task 
  • be very talkative 
  • be excessively fidgety  
  • go through extremes of empathising completely with others or reacting without emotions to others 
  • be energetic 
  • be spontaneous 
  • be creative 
  • be inventive 
  • be hyper-focused in certain conditions  

- ADHD Aware, Healthline, Attitude Mag 

"Does the University offer support?" 

Yes. Whether you have a diagnosis or not, please do explore these support options:

"This sounds like me. How do I get a diagnosis?" 

"Where can I go for more information or support?"

  • ADHD UK: a charity that helps people navigate their life with ADHD. 
  • The ADHD Foundation: "the neurodiversity charity" with a focus on supporting people with ADHD. 
  • ADD: a community of adults with ADHD supporting one another. 
  • ADDISS: "the National Attention Deficit Disorder Information and Support Service". 
  • Very Well Mind: support, information and articles relating to ADHD. 
  • Neurodiversity Hub: changing the narrative about autism and neurodiversity through awareness, education and engagement. 

We would also recommend speaking to your doctor for further support options. 

Other/previously used terms include: Asperger's, high or low functioning autism, autism spectrum disorder/condition. The DSM currently uses 'autism with or without a learning disability'.

In the autism community, many prefer terminology such as “Autistic person” or “Autistic individual” because we understand autism as an inherent part of an individual’s identity, rather than “person with autism”. This is known as identity-first language. - Autistic Advocacy

"What are some of the traits or experiences associated with Autism?" 

You/They may: 

  • have difficulty understanding figurative language (e.g. sarcasm) 
  • have sensitivity to sensory information, such as noise and visual stimuli 
  • experience discomfort with unfamiliar situations or unexpected breaks from routine 
  • be more direct than other people 
  • find eye contact uncomfortable 
  • have average to very high intelligence 
  • have the ability to think in visual images and identify patterns  
  • have a propensity to think outside the box and generate novel solutions to problems 
  • be detail-oriented 
  • have the ability to focus for long periods on areas of interest 

 Autistic Advocacy, Business Disability Neurodiversity Toolkit and Neurodiversity Hub 

"Does the University offer support?" 

Yes. Whether you have a diagnosis or not, please do explore these support options:

"This sounds like me. How do I get a diagnosis?" 

"Where can I go for more information or support?"

Books: 

  • 'Welcome to the Autistic Community' by Lar Berry and The Autistic Self Advocacy Network  
  • ‘We're Not Broken’ by Eric Garcia 
  • ‘All the Weight of Our Dreams’ by Lydia XZ Brown et al 
  • Neurotribes: The legacy of Autism and how to think smarter about people who think differently' by Steve Silberman

We would also recommend speaking to your doctor for further support.

"What are some of the traits or experiences associated with Dyscalculia?"  

You/They may: 

  • have difficulty counting backwards 
  • have a poor sense of number and estimation 
  • be slower to perform calculations 
  • forget mathematical procedures, especially as they become more complex 
  • have high levels of mathematics anxiety  
  • be good with words and social interactions 
  • be creative 
  • be intuitive 
  • be a good problem solver 
  • be a strategic thinker 

- British Dyslexia Association & Exceptional Individuals  

"Does the University offer support?" 

Yes. Whether you have a diagnosis or not, please do explore these support options:

"Where can I go for more information or support?"

We would also recommend speaking to your doctor for further support options. 

"What are some of the traits or experiences associated with Dysgraphia?"  

You/They may: 

  • have difficulty copying or spelling words 
  • have difficulty visualising words before writing them 
  • hold a pen or pencil too tightly resulting in hand cramps 
  • say words aloud while writing 
  • omit letters and words from sentences 
  • have good listening skills 
  • have strong memorisation and recall of details 
  • be a great storyteller 
  • be very sociable  
  • be an efficient problem solver 

- Healthline and Guiding Bright Minds 

"Does the University offer support?" 

Yes. Whether you have a diagnosis or not, please do explore these support options:

"Where can I go for more information or support?"

We would also recommend speaking to your doctor for further support options. 

"What are some of the traits or experiences associated with Dyslexia?" 

You/They may: 

  • read and write slowly 
  • confuse the order of letters in words 
  • put letters the wrong way round (such as writing "b" instead of "d") 
  • have poor or inconsistent spelling 
  • understand information when told verbally, but have difficulty with information that's written down 
  • be a creative thinker 
  • have a good ability to understand patterns 
  • be good at problem-solving 
  • be inventive and curious about new ideas 
  • have good communication skills 

- NHS and Made by Dyslexia 

"Does the University offer support?" 

Yes. Whether you have a diagnosis or not, please do explore these support options:

"This sounds like me. How do I get a diagnosis?" 

"Where can I go for more information or support?"

We would also recommend speaking to your doctor for further support options. 

Other/previously used terms include: Developmental co-ordination disorder (DCD).

"What are some of the traits or experiences associated with Dyspraxia?" 

You/They may: 

  • have balance and movement issues 
  • have poor hand-eye co-ordination 
  • find learning new skills a bit challenging  
  • have challenges with organisation and planning  
  • find time management difficult  
  • be very resilient  
  • be enthusiastic and passionate about interests 
  • be good at thinking 'outside the box' 
  • have good long-term memory 
  • be good at noticing details others don't 

- Healthline, Business Disability Neurodiversity Toolkit and Dyspraxia Foundation  

"Does the University offer support?" 

Yes. Whether you have a diagnosis or not, please do explore these support options:

"This sounds like me. How do I get a diagnosis?" 

  • See a GP if you think you may have undiagnosed dyspraxia or problems with your co-ordination. It's a good idea to keep a diary of your symptoms. The GP may refer you to a physiotherapist or an occupational therapist for tests. They'll assess your movements and how your symptoms are affecting you before making a diagnosis. - NHS 

"Where can I go for more information or support?"

  • Dyspraxia Foundation: lists local support groups you can join to share your experiences. 
  • Dyspraxic Adults: a forum for adults with dyspraxia. 
  • Movement Matters UK: a website full of useful links. 
  • This video was created with input & feedback from dyspraxic adults & children, and in collaboration with an animator who has dyspraxia. You can watch the video on YouTube.
  • Neurodiversity Hub: changing the narrative about autism and neurodiversity through awareness, education and engagement. 

We would also recommend speaking to your doctor for further support options.

"What are some of the traits or experiences associated with OCD?"

You/They may: 

  • experience intrusive negative thoughts, sometimes associated with certain specific actions 
  • feel compulsions to repeat actions (e.g. wash hands) or to organise or align objects in a specific way 
  • experience worries about germs, dirt, or illness 
  • experience worries about the health and safety of yourself or your loved ones 
  • look for reassurance from others 
  • be very careful and cautious 
  • have phenomenal attention to detail 
  • be very organised 
  • be creative 
  • be very empathetic and sympathetic to others 

- HealthlineBusiness Disability Neurodiversity Toolkit and Pulse MS 

"Does the University offer support?" 

Yes. Whether you have a diagnosis or not, please do explore these support options:

"This sounds like me. How do I get help?" 

There are 2 main ways to get help: 

  • You can refer yourself directly to a psychological therapies service: find a psychological therapies service in your area.
  • You can see a GP – they'll ask about your symptoms and can refer you to a local psychological therapies service if necessary. 

"Where can I go for more information or support?"

  • OCD Action: Information and support for people affected by OCD and hoarding, including online forums and local support groups. 
  • OCD UK: Charity run by and for people with OCD. 
  • Neurodiversity Hub: changing the narrative about autism and neurodiversity through awareness, education and engagement. 

We would also recommend speaking to your doctor for further support options. 

"What are some of the traits associated with Tourette’s syndrome?" 

You/They may: 

  • make involuntary sounds or movements (called tics) 
  • experience vocal tics such as whistling 
  • experience motor tics such as head jerking 
  • experience pain or discomfort from tics 
  • experience a physical sensation that precedes a tic 
  • have a tendency for creativity 
  • be energetic 
  • be quick to complete tasks they enjoy 
  • have a good sense of humour 
  • be very empathetic 

- Tourette’s Action and Movement Disorders 

"Does the University offer support?" 

Yes. Whether you have a diagnosis or not, please do explore these support options:

"This sounds like me. How do I get a diagnosis?" 

  • Tourette's Action provides a helpful guide about the diagnosis procedure.  
  • "There's no single test for Tourette's syndrome. Tests and scans, such as an MRI scan, may be used to rule out other conditions. You can be diagnosed with Tourette's syndrome if you've had several tics for at least a year. To get a diagnosis, a GP may refer you to different specialists, such as a neurologist (a brain and nervous system specialist)." - NHS 

"Where can I go for more information or support?" 

  • Tourette’s Action: UK-based and the leading support and research charity for people with Tourette Syndrome and their families. They also offer online support groups.  
  • NHS: Tourette's syndrome: for further information. 
  • The Brain Charity: offers emotional support, practical help, and social activities to anyone with a neurological condition (and their friends and family etc). 
  • Neurodiversity Hub: changing the narrative about autism and neurodiversity through awareness, education and engagement. 

We would also recommend speaking to your doctor for further support options.